From the minute I envisioned the alley project, I knew there had to be a Little Free Library. There’s several tucked around our neighborhood and I love stopping to peer inside; to survey the contents. There’s something so refreshing about the trusting aspect of them. That some people leave books. Some people take books. A naturally rotating inventory with apparently very little vandalism. From the minute I discovered the Little Free Library concept I wanted one. I just didn’t have a place to put it until the SNOW Block Alley came along.

We have a place in Boise called Second Chance. It’s an adeptly named store where the sale of used building materials goes to help people recovering from substance abuse get back on their feet. This place can be a gold mine for DIYers. On one of our many trips there gathering materials for the alley project, I spotted a flier announcing a contest for the best project built using primarily reclaimed materials, promising a $100 gift card for the winner. Oh what I could do with $100…

We grabbed a cart and started shopping. The foundations for our Little Free Library came in at $21.

Little Free Library

Plans, as well as constructed libraries, can be purchased on the Little Free Library website but the Hubs had a clear vision for our custom design. It started with a concrete roof. He built a form and mixed up a bag of cement. Embedded in the wet mix were 4 3.5˝ bolts that were used to attach a 2 x 4 which mounted to the top of a reclaimed upper kitchen cabinet.

Little Free Library

Some wonderful weathered lumber we’d scored at Second Chance trimmed out the edges and concrete Hardiboard was spray painted and nailed on as siding.

3. Installing sidingWe removed the wood panel in the door on the cabinet and replaced it with a piece of plexiglass  ($23) and I couldn’t resist keeping with the gardening theme and making the door handle out of a faucet knob.

At a local metal recycling yard we found a galvanized plumbing pipe with an escetian ($7) that was just perfect. Set in concrete it was finally time for the installation! With the concrete roof we were definitely going to need some help so neighbors Jerry & Michele came out to lend a hand.

Since creating the SNOW Block Alley, we have become a regular route for dog walkers, bicyclists and joggers. On this particular evening a gentleman and his wife strolling through stopped to join in the action, lending a hand in the installation. The library set in place was celebrated with a toast!

Little Free Library

The library was cleaned and loaded with books thanks to lots of donations, while the kids anxiously looked on.

Little Free LIbrary

Duke (the cat) volunteered to be the  honorary librarian. We registered our library with Little Free Library and you can find us on their map at #30061.

As for the Second Chance contest? Well, we now call this the Award Winning Little Free Library and I can hardly wait to see what we can build with our $100 gift certificate.

Little Free Library